About North Texas Animal Connections

North Texas Animal Connections is an Educational Animal Rescue Facility with animal interactions available, located in Forney, Texas. We are a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit, licensed and regulated by the USDA EIN 84-4492135.


Our mission is to bring our animal and human communities together for education, support, and service.

At our campus in Forney TX, we shelter, feed, and provide medical care for over 90 animals – including multiple rescues every year. Our animals participate in animal-assisted therapy programs for persons with special needs, veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress, and elderly people struggling with the physical, situational, and emotional effects of advancing age. And participation is wonderfully therapeutic for the animals also; they benefit greatly from the increased interaction, affection, love, and support.

In addition to our veterinary, rescue, and therapeutic programming, our Forney campus is open year-round (known locally as “The Gentle Zoo”) so that children and adults of all ages can interact with our animals and take part in special activities and programs designed to educate and to inspire.

Our Team

NTAC Team - Left to Right: Cheyenne Mayfield, Emily Knight Hunter, Rod Deisler, Michelle Heuman, Julia Casamiquela
Left to Right: Cheyenne Mayfield, Emily Knight Hunter, Rod Deisler, Michelle Heuman, Júlia Casamiquela
Michelle Heuman - President
Michelle has been dedicated to us for over 10 years! She started here before we became a nonprofit and works hard everyday to make our mission come to life! Whether it is mucking a stall or answering the phone, she will always have a smile while doing it!
Cheyenne Mayfield - Director of Animal Care
Cheyenne started volunteering her time here in High School. After college she came back armed with her degree in biology more dedicated than ever to help these animals thrive. She creates and implements diets & enrichments to keep all our critters happy & healthy.
Emily Knight Hunter - Project Director
Emily has a degree in plant and soil sciences with a focus on water! She spearheads our conservation efforts, implements our educational programs, and still finds time to love and enrich the ambassadors here!
David Downing - Zookeeper
David comes to work everyday looking for all the hard work! He is working towards his degree currently, but has future plans to help animals worldwide. He loves all the ambassadors, but our snakes have stolen his heart.
Júlia Casamiquela - Social Media Coordinator
Júlia has a degree in zoology and traveled all the way from Spain to spread our mission! Her dedication and passion is outlined in all our Social Media posts!

Our Programs

Rescuing Animals: A Second Chance Program

Everyone deserves a second chance, including animals. Many of the animals in our care have been rescued and adopted from shelters, private homes, and sanctuaries in Texas. Though they started with disabilities and/or injuries – and although they’re at various stages of rehabilitation – animals under NTAC’s care live in a loving and caring environment, and their recoveries give testimony to what compassion and confidence can do.

Animal Education

At our Forney campus, known locally as “The Gentle Zoo”, we offer educational programs and activities that allow children and adults to learn about animal behavior, husbandry and what it means to rescue and care for another living being.

Animal Outreach Therapy

Special Needs: With the help of an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist, NTAC provides a therapeutic environment for autistic persons by catering to their sensory needs. Elderly & Veterans: Animal Assisted Activities are those activities that use animals to experience motivational, educational, and recreational benefits. Animal Assisted Activities include a "Meet and Greet" that introduces animals and their handlers, usually in groups on a scheduled basis.